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Trouble on the cards; THE MONEY DOCTOR ...WITH FERGUS MUIRHEAD PS Financial worries or just looking for better value for money? Consumer champion Fergus Muirhead can help If you fall victim to identity fraud, you need to keep cool and take fast action.

Q Last week, I received credit cards from two different companies and PINs for these cards, even although I have never had any contact with them and have certainly never applied for credit cards from them.

I tried phoning both companies on Saturday after receiving the cards, but couldn't get through.

I'm going on holiday tomorrow for 10 days and I am obviously worried that more cards arrive while I am away, or that somehow the people who did his are able to start using the cards I received. Is there anything you can do to help me, or anything you suggest I do? Graham Rodgers (name changed by request) THIS was a very worrying email to receive, not least because you were going away the day after you wrote to me and you were obviously concerned that more credit cards would pop through your letterbox while you were away.

You were obviously concerned that somehow, whoever had applied for these cards in your name had applied for others and would be trying to pick them up and use them while you were away.

I deliberately haven't mentioned the names of the banks and credit card companies involved here because they have done absolutely nothing wrong and were just unfortunate enough to have been used by whoever was scamming you.

In fact, I would have to say each of them was fantastic. I contacted them all as soon as I received your email and I also had a word with your bank so they could keep an eye on your account.

Everyone involved was on the case straight away. The cards were cancelled by the companies concerned and each company confirmed that as far as they were concerned you had been the victim of identity fraud. The fraudsters had used your personal details and information to apply for credit cards and a bank account in your name without your knowledge.

You were worried that they knew you were going on holiday and planned to get into your house and collect the cards to start using them.

I'm not sure they would have worked to that degree of sophistication but it is a possibility, although remote, that they would be able to intercept the cards en route. You could have been substantially out of pocket had they been able to use the cards while you were away.

Fortunately we were all on the ball and all of the cards, as well as the new current account, were cancelled and the companies concerned were put on alert in case any other applications appeared in your name.

We also spoke to Action Fraud to notify them of what was going on, although at this stage there hadn't actually been a fraud since the cards were all cancelled before they could be used.

Identity thefts like this one are on the rise and it's really important to know what to do if you suspect that someone has stolen your identity or is using your cards.

First of all, as we did in this case, you should report all lost or stolen documents, such as passports, driving licences, credit cards and cheque books, to the organisation that issued them. You also need to inform your bank, building society and credit card company of any unusual transactions on your statements.

One precaution you might not think of straight away, but which is really important, is to get a copy of your credit file and check it for any suspicious credit applications.

Any personal documents that have been stolen, or strange credit card applications that you discover, should be reported to the police and you should ask for a crime reference number. You need to contact CIFAS (the UK's Fraud Prevention Service) to apply for protective registration. Once you have registered, be aware that CIFAS members will carry out extra checks to see when anyone, including you, applies for a financial service, such as a loan, using your address.

It's difficult and very annoying to think that someone is using your personal information, but you need to keep calm and act quickly to minimise any loss.

Top Tips l Invest regularly through the tax year rather than leaving it all until the year end.

l Get in touch with your bank straight away if you notice any suspicious activity on your accounts.

Fergus is Email your problems to moneydoctor@dailyrecord.co.uk Or post them to The Money Doctor, Daily Record, One Central Quay, Glasgow, G3 8DA Unfortunately Fergus can't reply to every question in person.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 5, 2019
Words:773
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